How do you recognise the signs of stalking?

Up until a few years ago, there wasn’t even a law that defined the signs of stalking and prevented someone from this uncomfortable experience. Stalking was not a criminal act. Victims could only pursue their stalkers under harassment laws, which were woefully inadequate. Since 2012, new laws were passed to stop stalkers. As recent as last December, new legislation now protects victims of stalking before a suspect has even been arrested.

So why has it taken so long for the law to catch up with stalking? One reason could be that it is difficult to pinpoint the signs of stalking. The line between unwanted attention and a criminal act can be extremely fragile.

So why do some people resort to stalking?

One study identified 5 types of stalkers:


  • Pursues a former partner
  • Wants a reconciliation
  • Or desires revenge
  • Has a criminal history of assault

These are the most dangerous type. They have had a relationship with the victim and often seek revenge.


  • Wants a relationship with their ‘true love
  • Takes no notice of the victim’s feelings
  • Erotomania delusions
  • Endows victim with grand qualities

These types often live in a fantasy world of their own making and are not dangerous per se. They believe they are in love and it is unrequited.


  • Knows the victim is not interested
  • Wants their behaviour to lead to a relationship
  • Low IQ, socially awkward
  • Does not endow victim with grand qualities

These types often make crude attempts at romantic gestures and know they probably won’t get anywhere.


  • Feels persecuted, wants retribution
  • Wants to frighten and upset the victim
  • Has a particular grievance
  • Paranoid delusions

Resentful stalkers typically suffer from some sort of mental illness and can often end up in psychiatric care.


  • Stalks and studies victim
  • Prepares in advance for attack
  • Prior sexual attacks
  • No warnings before attacks

Another dangerous offender, these stalkers are violent and need medical help to control their feelings and violent actions.

Stalkers appear to share certain characteristics:

  • They have obsessive personalities

The stalker will have obsessive traits and fixate on their subject. Their every waking moment will focus on their victim. You might find an area dedicated to the subject of their affection, such as a shrine or scrapbook. Their over-riding thoughts are concerned with pursuing their victim.

  • They have delusional thoughts

Stalkers will see signs in everyday events. My stalker, for instance, took me to his desk and asked me, in all seriousness, if I had left an elastic band on his desk as a sign. Where it had fallen it looked like a heart shape. Wear a red scarf and it is a sign, hold a newspaper, another sign.

  • Stalkers don’t take no for an answer

Stalkers cannot believe their victims are not interested in them. Any rejections are signs of love and commitment.

In fact, the more a victim protests, the more they believe it is a covert sign. They may also think that with a little more patience their victim will come to love them.

  • They have above average intelligence

In order to pursue their victims unnoticed for such long periods, stalkers have to have above average intelligence. They are adept at obtaining information about their victims and will use covert methods to get close to them. They will also use their intelligence to throw others off their trail.

  • They suffer from low self-esteem

Stalkers often tie their self-worth with the person they are pursuing. Typical loners, they long for a relationship that delivers a sense of worth. Associating with a special person raises the stalker’s profile and they see themselves in the same circle as their victim.

Now we know about the types of stalkers, here are 7 non-obvious signs of stalking:

  1. The Good Samaritan

Is someone at work being extra helpful recently? Beware of the Good Samaritan, the person who is always around to help with that flat tyre or a lost word document. This heplful person has probably damaged your property in the first place to get close to you.

  1. Legal Action

Has someone filed a legal suit against you in the last few months? Stalking isn’t always a person being overly nice by sending bouquets of flowers or cards. The whole purpose of a stalker is to get access to you. And filing a lawsuit means spending time with you.

  1. Knight in Shining Armour

Have you had a string of really bad luck? Your cat died? Was your dog run over? Your best friend suddenly won’t talk to you anymore? And now this once stranger is your rock, your knight in shining armour? Consider that this knight might be behind all your misfortunes.

  1. Always there

You know when you just keep bumping into someone and at the beginning, it is a huge joke? When it starts to happen all the time, every day it is not funny. It is not natural or normal behaviour for someone to keep running into the same person all the time.

  1. Inappropriate gifts

If someone gives you a gift that you don’t feel happy with, give it straight back. Inappropriate gifts can be one of those signs of stalking we don’t notice until it’s too late.

  1. Asking questions about your online activity

If someone you have just met starts asking you about times you logged on or off then this should set off alarm bells. What business is it of theirs when you access social media?

  1. Offering to look after your children

A person you are barely acquainted with wants to look after your children? I think not! This was the mistake I made with my stalker, letting him into my house too early with a big responsibility. I made him feel as if he was an important part of my life. When in fact, I just wanted someone to feed the cats.

What to do if you think you are a victim of stalking?

The police advice is to follow four Golden Rules:

  1. Have no contact with the stalker

Once the stalker has been told in a firm but polite manner that their attention is unwanted, there should be no further contact. The stalker will see any kind of contact as positive and deem it as encouragement.

  1. Tell other people

People that experience stalking may be reluctant to tell others what is going on. It is important to let friends and family know. This is because they can provide evidence in court and not unwittingly give details to the stalker.

  1. Collect evidence about the stalking

It is essential to provide proof of your stalking so keep a journal. Take photographs or video the stalker. Save texts, emails, if you get deliveries call the company to find out who ordered it.

Not everyone can see the signs of stalking or they might not believe you, so make sure you can prove it.

  1. Make sure you are safe

Change the locks on your house, change your routine, only give out personal information to those your trust. Install sensors and alarms and get a home security check.

Do you have experience of stalking? Can you share any non-obvious signs of stalking we might have missed?



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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Gary Hynous

    Once you have enough evidence, such as a cell phone video, report it to local law enforcement. This will, I hope, scare him/her enough to cause him/her to stop. Not all stalkers are men. They may be dangerous so be very careful and vigilant.

  2. Hailey johnson

    This teenage boy, I think he is a teenager but he keeps walk up to me out of no where asking me to come with him I was freaking out so I pretended to call the cops he kept telling me to calm down he’s not going to hurt me and I had to pretend to call the cops on him.

  3. Lauren

    I don’t know if this counts as stalking or just acting weird but I ended the friendship with a guy named Dominic and he started doing a few things on this list he has sent an American flag to my house a small one though and I have seen him at th gym I go to with a strange girl I’ve never seen before he’s been giving me this look almost like he’s desperate to be friends again but I haven’t talked to him in three months now I don’t know to think or what to do

  4. Lucille

    My mother cut ties with after I had my baby. She had my stalked for 2years. She knew where my car was parked. My sister had to tell me about it. I had moved back in 7months ago and my sister finally tells me about it and I’m creeped out about it. I know my mother has an obsession with my sister’s relationships and even wants to take her baby for herself but I didn’t know having one of her friend’s stalk me, when no one knew where I lived, was something she would do. I never spoke to her the whole time. I’m beyond creeped out. I can’t figure out who she had to follow me around. I don’t know how to get away from my crazy abusive family.

    1. Trent

      My mother and father have been stalking me for at least twenty five years no matter what I do to try and keep them away from me I can’t win the battle the internet and technology have made it impossible to keep them away from me for an extended period of time and the police are worthless and there is really nothing available to protect one’s self from a family member is what I have discovered

  5. Denise Walls

    I’m being stalk this person let’s me know when who erev it may be at times I believe this person trying to hurt me me I get camera they turn them off it’s amind game I call law they act like I’m crazy .I m not ho we do I get help or to make it stop I p .I’ve been home and they will be hiding in my home I’m 55 this get worse as it go I feel it’s my boyfriend

  6. Kay

    Any advice on how to follow that advice when you work with this person and your position requires interaction?

  7. mm

    i am a girl and people keep making up things about me and obsessively following me around. i watched a movie once and have been told about this movie over 20 times i hardly ever even think of the movie or have even barely watched it all because i decided to dye my hair blonde and i can’t even do something without getting accused of something or made to feel bad about myself it is really scaring me because i feel like i am roleplaying someone elses fantasy land and the fact i can’t even sit and watch a movie is pretty sad….

  8. Himani J.

    I am being stalked from 5 years continuously and being forced to be in a relation which i never want to . I have no idea how to deal with this problem.

  9. Beth

    I dated a guy in college for about five months and he was never my type. He would not let me go and followed me and eventually my family around America for eight years. There were no restraining orders back then (1970) and all I could do was rebuff and ask friends to help. Finally, after thirty years, he found a woman to marry him and give him children. My family knows his name in case I am shot dead unexpectedly.

  10. Apryl

    My mom passed and since than I feel like I’m being gained stocked. I see same people all over they run c me off the roads mess with my cars yet to make me seem crazy

  11. Cecelia

    If you feel stalked but don’t know how to start following the above advice, react: try logical thinking, try to change the circumstances around you, speak with a friend or therapist, consider what self-beliefs are harming you from reaching peace of mind or the help of others (like mistrust in others).

    If the person is at your work place talk about it to your boss or HR (a guy (not my friend) once told me he liked so much my fb pic that he would come to visit me in my country one day-I talked to my boss and that one chat message was considered enough for him to get reprimanded): change job if it really has to comes to the point where you think it’s too dangerous and boss/HR have not shown any support).
    If you are in school talk to the school shrink or, if you think one of your teacher might have noticed the behaviour, try checking if it is safe to open up to them (your family member would still be the first that should listen to you thought).

    Don’t let yourself down thinking there is no way out. Keep hope and have courage. No matter who you think you are you deserve peace.

    Remember there are forum and communities where you can share your secret and get help even anonymously.

  12. Anon

    My stalker was a knight in shining Armor. Always there when things went wrong and when relationships broke down. As a house warming gift he gifted me Alexa’s. Beware – these gifts were to bug my house! Alexa has a air drop mode. It means anyone on a contacts list can listen in to the room where the alexa is positioned. Funny – he gifted me 4 saying they were on special reduced prices. One for the living room, kitchen, bedroom and hallway.

    I didn’t cotton on for years. Password was easily guessed for my icloud and my accounts. THIS HORRIBLE HORRIBLE STUFF REALLY DOES HAPPEN!!

  13. Lily

    @Apryl: If there was life insurance, an inheritance, etc. from your mother’s estate, they could be trying to kill you. Sorry to be so blunt, but sometimes it goes beyond just “stalking” and all these urban myths that mysterious people post online~ baloney! The government is not out to get you, blah blah- the person who is stalking has one or both of two things-motive, and or compensation. Nowadays a lot of people will hire out (pay) desperate people to do their dirty work (look up the term “flying Monkeys”).

  14. Jason Ankney

    I didn’t know it was actually stalking when it began over a year ago! I did tell some family and friends . I do have many pictures and videos. I do need your help because the police have done nothing but basically laugh at me.

  15. Ron Malcom

    What can I do to help you? Why do you feel the police laughed at you and did nothing to help you when you have pictures and/or videos to show them? Is it clear in the picture and videos that it is the same person or is there anything on them that are definitely showing this person is stalking you? What about your friends and family you showed this to what have they said to you about them? More details please so I know what I may do to help you or advise you.

  16. I just wanna live

    Hi, I think my family is having me stalked, I keep on having weird experiences where people know something about me they shouldn’t or allude to some kind of lifestyle I don’t live. This lady who was dropping me off in an uber drive. Mind you my phone always glitches when I get on uber. So she is talking to me and she makes this weird remark about a drug addict woman who works at the same place I work, and that she had scares on her face and she was doing much better. However if the stupid bitch was talking about me, people get acne so im like pass scares heal. She said stuff like the woman was picking at her face, faces itch. She just came off as a liar and manipulator. These are tactics my sisters and mom actually everyone I know has been doing this. Not exactly stating my name or description when talking to me about me, and all they have is negative things to say. If the police doesn’t help people in these situations because they believe the story of a liar and gas lighter then what am I to do? I’d take this into my own hands because I don’t like the feeling nor the experience, im sure Everyone participating thinks its funny, infact my bitch ass family is probably waiting until I get benefits to do anything to me. So America if life insurance is a benefit paid out if i ever — then you just gave people an incentive to be murders and if I could rate the United States of America they wouldn’t even reach one star.

  17. Jessica

    It took me 5 years to figure out but since my mom passed two years ago, my family has been stalking and harassing me for 5 years and doing some form of electronic harrassment to try and control me since my dad is the one with the money and connections since he’s a high powered attorney. How can I get them to stop. They hired people to do their dirty work when I’m home and not home. I left yesterday and in 30 minutes when I came back they had popped my front door lock off from outside in. I found handprints on the inside of my bedroom window. What’s the cheapest way to find hidden cameras that they installed? How can I make this stop? Please. What phone can I get because I found out they have the cell phone store wiretaps my phone which is illegal. The same people have been following me and breaking and entering into my home when I walk my dog or leave. I feel like my family hired a PI on me because they know my every move and they hired people to do work in my home while I’m gone and while I’m home. Any suggestions please. This needs to stop now. They’ve gone too far

  18. Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

    I don’t know if this helps but police advise victims of stalking to keep a journal with dates and times of stalking behaviour, but the best thing you can do is to tell people, make them aware of the problem.

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